I was shocked to read the words, “everyone who is believing in Him may not perish,” as I read John 3:16 in the Literal Standard Version of the Bible (a word by word, literal translation). Most translations I’ve read use the word “believes” instead of saying “is believing.”
“Is believing in Him” means actively trusting Him at the present moment, not just acknowledging certain doctrines. I’ve often understood belief in Jesus as something that I did when I was converted, not as something that I need to do in the present moment, however, when “I am believing,” I’m doing something–I’m actively trusting Jesus and relying on Him in the now.
I was convicted of how many moments (okay, hours or days or longer) I spend believing in myself and my own efforts instead of believing (trusting) in Him. When I’m trying to accomplish something by my own effort, I’m not believing that Jesus will do it.
The Literal Standard Version also quotes Jesus as saying that rivers of living water will flow out of a person “who is believing in Me.” (“Rivers of living water” refers to the supernatural flow of God’s presence that begins in our heart and then impacts our environment.) When I’m actively believing in Jesus in the present moment, I feel those inner rivers gushing out of me, however, when I’m trusting in my own efforts those inner rivers no longer freely flow.
A person who “is believing” is relying on Jesus, not on human effort. That person begins to experience the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control), flowing like rivers from his heart.
Christianity isn’t a religious pose you do for human approval. It’s a courageous lifestyle of believing in and relying on Jesus. It’s easy to pose as a Christian, but we have to “fight the good fight of faith” to keep believing in, trusting in, and relying on Him.